An artist's rendition of what the possible lunar exploration might look like in 2024. Source: NASA

Image Credit : NASA

 

NASA’s Artemis program is a US government-funded crewed spaceflight program that has the goal of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region by 2024, preparing the way for human missions to Mars.

 

Pioneer Astronautics has been selected by NASA as one of the first four U.S. small businesses to mature a range of technologies for sustainable exploration of the Moon under the Artemis program. By awarding the companies with follow-on funds, with an expected combined value of approximately $17 million, NASA’s small business program will accelerate the development of lunar technologies relevant to Artemis.

Under this contract, Pioneer will develop and deliver cutting edge hardware for the purpose of producing oxygen and steel from lunar regolith, in support of the Artemis program. The technology would support sustainable lunar operations such as manufacturing using resources already on the Moon, also known as in-situ resource utilization.

“Small businesses are integral to the development of space technology. With this new lunar sequential funding opportunity, they will advance in-situ resource utilization, laser communications, and other high-impact technologies for use on the Moon,”

“Each business has a track record of success with NASA, and we believe their technologies will have a direct impact on the Artemis program.”

Jim Reuter, Associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington

 

NASA Announcement and Related Articles

NASA SBIR Icon

The selected companies and technologies are:

 

  • Pioneer Astronautics of Lakewood, Colorado, will build and demonstrate hardware to produce oxygen and steel from lunar regolith, or soil. The technology would support sustainable lunar operations such as manufacturing using resources already on the Moon, also known as in-situ resource utilization.
  • Fibertek of Herndon, Virginia, will advance optical communications technologies for small spacecraft around the Moon and beyond. The system could establish high bandwidth communications in the vicinity of the Moon to relay vast amounts of data from lunar landers to Earth.
  • Qualtech Systems of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, will mature autonomous systems capable of continuously monitoring and providing fault and health management for spacecraft such as Gateway, a future outpost around the Moon, whether there are astronauts aboard or not. Other potential exploration applications include space vehicles, surface systems, habitats, and rovers.
  • Protoinnovations of Pittsburgh will advance traction control and improve the driving ability of robotic and crewed rovers in unknown and highly variable terrain on the Moon.

 

NASA SBIR Icon

Pioneer Astronautics received the following contract(s) from NASA for: Magnetic Phase SeparatorGas Replacement System (GRS), and Magsails for Spacecraft Deorbit

NASA SBIR STTR Logo

Robert Zubrin | Pioneer Astronautics, 11111 W. 8th Ave. unit A, Lakewood, CO 80215, USA
Abstract Excerpt
“It is shown that a mechanism involving only random motion of the sun with respect to the surrounding star field can account for the ∼1 per 25 Myr characteristic frequency of large cometary impacts on Earth. In the proposed mechanism, the sun travels through the Oort Cloud of an encounter star, most typically a Type M dwarf, while the dwarf flies through the Oort cloud of our Sun. As a result, Oort Cloud objects from our Solar System are precipitated in large numbers to impact planets in the dwarf star system, while the dwarf’s Oort Cloud objects are destabilized to impact planets in our Solar System.”

NASA SBIR Icon

Pioneer Astronautics received the following contract(s) from NASA for: Lunar Flow Battery and Lunar Exploration Gas Spectrometer.

NASA SBIR STTR Logo

NASA SBIR Icon

Pioneer Astronautics received the following contract(s) from NASA for: Advanced Organic Waste Gasifier and Liquid Sorption Pump.

NASA SBIR STTR Logo

Engineering Mars commercial rocket propellant production for the Big Falcon Rocket (part 2)
by Steve Hoeser
“The RWGS itself would consist of a simple compatible metal pipe, like steel, filled with a catalyst. According to experiments done by Pioneer Astronautics in Lakewood, Colorado, the best catalyst for this reaction is silica (consisting of five percent copper by weight) and a smaller amount of nickel.”

Pioneer Astronautics Background 9

Pioneer Astronautics received the following contract(s) from NASA for Advanced Mars Water Acquisition System.

Pioneer Astronautics Background 9

Pioneer Astronautics received the following contract(s) from NASA for: Extraterrestrial Metals Processing.

Pioneer Astronautics Background 9

Pioneer Astronautics received the following contract(s) from NASA for: Extraterrestrial Metals Processing.

The Case for Mars : Robert Zubrin : Background

Pioneer Astronautics recieved three Phase 1 Contract from NASA for : Nitrous Oxide Micro Engines, Mars Regolith Water Extractor,  & Regenerable Contaminant Removal System.